Highly infectious and more harmful HIV mutants found in the Netherlands

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) variant was discovered in the Netherlands by researchers at the University of Oxford. This variant is more infectious, more damaging, and may put an individual at risk of developing AIDS “much faster” than other HIV variants.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS if left untreated. World Health Organization (WHO) Estimate As of the end of 2020, 30-20-45.1 million people are living with HIV, and more than two-thirds (25.4 million) live in the WHO Africa region.

The newly discovered mutant named “VB” of toxic subtype B showed significant differences compared to other HIV mutants. Specifically, prior to antiretroviral treatment, viral load (blood viral levels) in people with VB mutations was 3.5 to 5.5 times higher. They also showed a high risk of transmitting the virus to others.

In addition, the rate of reduction of CD4 cells, a marker of HIV-induced immune system damage, was twice as fast in people with the VB variant, so there is a risk of developing AIDS “much faster.” Oxford University.

“Before this study, the genetics of the HIV virus were known to be associated with pathogenicity, suggesting that the evolution of new mutants may change their health effects. The discovery of the VB variant demonstrated this and provided a rare example of the risks posed by the evolution of viral pathogenicity, “said lead author Chris Wimant in a statement.

Fortunately, people with the VB mutation responded similarly to the standard treatment for HIV, antiretroviral treatment, and showed similar survival rates to those with other HIV mutations.

Citing that newly discovered variants can damage the immune system more quickly, researchers say that people at high risk of becoming infected with HIV are diagnosed early and start treatment as soon as possible. He said it was “important” to have access to frequent tests.

Early detection and treatment “limits the amount of time HIV can damage an individual’s immune system and threaten their health,” senior author Christoph Fraser said in a statement. “It also ensures that HIV is suppressed as quickly as possible and prevents transmission to other individuals.”

Without treatment, people with VB mutations can progress to AIDS within 2-3 years of the first HIV diagnosis, compared to an average of 6-7 years after diagnosis with other HIV mutations.

The Peer review study It was published in the journal Science on February 3rd.

Scientists have stated that it is not possible to infer a single genetic cause for VB mutants, where many mutations are spread throughout the genome.

This variant is estimated to have occurred in the late 1980s and 1990s. Researchers have been warned about VB variants from another ongoing study called the BEEHIVE project, which collects test samples from across Europe and Uganda.

They found that 17 of the HIV-positive individuals in the BEEHIVE study had a “significantly elevated” viral load between 6 and 24 months after an initial positive test for a “clear subtype B virus mutation.” I discovered that I have a “body”. The state of their infection. Of the 17 people, 15 are from the Netherlands.

From there, researchers analyzed data from a cohort of about 6,706 HIV-positive individuals in the Netherlands, and found that an additional 92 were infected with the viral variant and had the VB variant. The total number of people confirmed to be 109 is now.

Researchers write that “the first sampled VB individual” was diagnosed with HIV in 1992.

After analyzing patterns of genetic variation between samples, scientists found that VB variants first occurred in the Netherlands in the late 1980s or early 1990s and then compared to other variants in the 2000s. It spread rapidly, but it was estimated that the spread had decreased since then. Around 2010.

According to a statement from the University of Oxford, “The research team believes that the VB variant occurred rather than because of extensive treatment in the Netherlands, because effective treatment can suppress the infection. I am. “

“Individuals with the VB mutation showed typical characteristics of people living with HIV in the Netherlands, such as age, gender, and suspected infection. This is because the increased infectivity of the VB variant is that of people with the virus. It indicates that it is due to the characteristics of the virus itself, not the characteristics. “

Mimi Nguyen Lee


Mimi Nguyen Ly is a reporter who covers world news with a focus on US news. She is based in Australia and has a background in clinical optometry. Contact Mimi at [email protected]